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Samuel Alito Just Wants To Protect Black Santa From Kids In Klan Outfits
This guy, everybody. This fuckin guy.
Evangelical Christian graphic artist Lorie Smith does not want to create web sites for same-sex couples, and if Colorado makes her — it's got a pretty clear anti-discrimination law — then she’ll feel hella persecuted. She’d presumably also object if heterosexual couples refuse to do business with an anti-gay bigot. Her whole business model relies on all her customers thinking same-sex marriage is gross ... for Jesus reasons, of course.
Smith has taken her case to the Supreme Court, with the help of the anti-gay hate group "Alliance Defending Freedom," and the far-right majority seems sympathetic to her “plight,” which at this point is strictly hypothetical. No gay people want to use her service. She just wants a proactive “no queers allowed” ruling. Justice Samuel Alito claimed that if Colorado prevails, then businesses could be forced to “espouse things they loathe.”
The three liberal justices — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson — were firmly in the “oh, get over yourself; you live in a diverse society” camp. The websites Smith designed express the sentiments of her customers. No one thinks she secretly respects queer people. Sotomayor warned that ruling in Smith’s favor would be “the first time in the Supreme Court’s history” that it would allow a business open to the public to “refuse to serve a customer based on race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.” I imagine this caused Alito’s eyes to roll back in his head as he moaned with satisfaction.
Smith insists that she wants to exclusively serve heterosexual couples through her business and create wedding websites through “God’s lens.” Smith assumes God is just as bigoted as she is.
The oral arguments were weird. Alito offered the example of an unmarried Jewish person hiring a Jewish photographer to take a photo for his JDate profile ... “a dating service, I gather, for Jewish people,” Alito said. Kagan confirmed that it was. That’s when he cleverly responded, “Maybe Justice Kagan will also be familiar with the next website I’m going to mention: Next a Jewish person asks a Jewish photographer to take a photo for his AshleyMadison.com.”
So, Ashley Madison is the dating service for adulterous slime balls with pleasant singing voices. I don’t think customers tell photographers they specifically want a photo taken so they can cheat on their wife. They keep it simple and just ask for a standard portrait. It’s not the photographer’s business how you use the photo. Does Alito imagine a world full of busybodies who interrogate people buying condoms or even mouth wash? “Why do you want fresh breath at this hour of the night? Fess up!”
Alito’s hypothetical exposes his own bigotry. Adultery, while still no one’s business, isn’t morally similar to a same-sex relationship. Smith has already admitted that she considers same-sex marriages inherently inferior to heterosexual marriages. Smith’s attorney Kristen Waggoner claimed that her client’s opposition to same-sex marriage was somehow not the same as opposing interracial marriage. This is bullshit, because when I was growing up in South Carolina, white evangelicals considered both unions equally vile. Bigots always hide behind their religion, but it’s not like a new interracial-couple-friendly edition of the Bible was released in the mid-'90s.
Brown Jackson presented the scenario of a photography business refusing to take photos of a mall Santa with children who aren’t white. That’s when Alito posed the conundrum that will baffle law students for generations: If there’s a Black Santa in the mall and Megyn Kelly’s not there to see it, does he have to pose with a photo with a kid dressed in a Klu Klux Klan outfit?
“Alito asks a hypothetical about a Black Santa at the mall who doesn't want to have his picture taken with a child dressed up in a KKK outfit. It culminates with Alito quipping: "You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits, right? All the time."”
— Mark Joseph Stern (@Mark Joseph Stern) 1670257336
This is absurd for many reasons. First, Alito implies that it’s the Black Santa who’d object to the photograph rather than the child in a goddamn KKK outfit. The junior klansman wouldn’t go anywhere near Black Santa’s lap. The kid’s family is probably burning a cross outside to protest the mall even hiring a Black Santa.
Also, I’ve had casual encounters with several white Santas since my son was born, and most seem like decent enough people who wouldn’t enjoy posing with a kid in a KKK outfit. It’s revealing that Alito seems to think only Black Santas would place this kid firmly on the “naughty" list.
Eric Olson, the Colorado solicitor general, patiently explained that "Klu Klux Klan outfits aren’t protected characteristics under public accommodations laws.” You’d think Alito might’ve gone for a more plausible example — for instance, a kid wearing a MAGA hat and “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirt. However, Alito probably couldn’t resist associating same-sex marriage with something as vile as membership in a white supremacist terror group.
Kagan also pointed out what Alito failed to grasp: This hypothetical Santa could object to the Klan outfit regardless of whether the kid was Black or white. Alito quipped, "You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits, right? All the time.” What a card, and by “card,” I mean, “fucking asshole."
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